Should I add glass to my framed painting?

Once a painting is restored, there are various measures that can be implemented to protect against environmental conditions. We have previously detailed the most effective ways to store and display artwork, and are occasionally asked whether adding glass to a framed painting will aid protection.

The answer is an interesting one, and not always what people expect to hear.

It is important to consider oils and watercolours separately when considering the addition of glass.

For oils, glass is not commonly added to a framed painting. This is due to the glass creating a micro environment between the pane and the painting. This ‘greenhouse effect’ will create moisture, which will lead to the growth of mould and other surface contaminants, and the painting will not be able to ‘breathe’ effectively. The varnish that is applied to an oil painting once it has been restored also acts as a protective layer.

In museums, and other institutions where paintings are on view for the public, oil paintings are occasionally encased in glass to protect against any accidental damage. In such instances, appropriate measures will be taken to safeguard the painting against any harm, including the use of a picture frame spacer.

Watercolour paintings fare differently. Due to the fragility of works on paper, the glass surface can act as a non-harmful protective layer for the painting. Many art collectors opt for adding glass to their watercolour and works on paper when they are framed.

If you have considered adding glass to protect your painting, conservation and museum standard materials will provide the most suitable support.

The Tru Vue Museum Glass ® is available for all types of artwork and will not compromise the clarity of the painting, as you can see in the above photograph. The anti-reflective glass is UV protective and blocks 99% of UV rays. It will prevent direct and indirect sunlight from damaging and fading artwork, offering comprehensive protection.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of adding glass to your framed painting, please visit our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

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